MOTHER FINDS A BODY
By Gypsy Rose Lee
The Feminist Press, 2012, c1942 ($13.95)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
It's not everyone who takes their mother on their honeymoon, but Gypsy Rose Lee is not everyone. Gypsy Rose married burlesque comic Biff Brannigan in a unique ceremony in a water taxi in California, using a captain they found in a bar and a best man who was a complete stranger. Mother was not invited, and guilted her daughter into taking her on the honeymoon. Also in for the cross-country ride in a travel trailer is an assortment of colleagues and critters. Oh, and the dead guy under the mattress.
When the merry group arrived in sweltering Ysleta, Texas, it was time to deal with said body. Mother and the Brannigans disagreed on the proper handling of the situation, and as she often did, Mother won out. That wasn't the end of the story, however. Soon the travelers and the local authorities were becoming well-acquainted. They also made some friends, and some enemies, among the town folk, and renewed an old acquaintance or two.
This is a highly-entertaining romp, full of quirky characters, insane situations, and a clever plot. Unlike some celebrity authors, it is said that Ms. Lee wrote every word of her novels (the first was THE G-STRING MURDERS), and that they are based on her real life. What a life that was!
Lee's difficult and fascinating story is detailed in a lengthy foreword by her son, Erik Lee Preminger. It is obvious that she was a strong, talented woman who overcame much to become a success. This book is part of the Femmes Fatales series of reprints of classic mid-twentieth century noir.
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